The trucking industry is highly regulated. However, that does not mean that professionals who transport goods across town or over the road are fully protected from unreasonable demands and other hazards that increase the risk for injury. Over the road and local truck drivers often face a variety of issues that drivers of passenger vehicles may not fully understand.
The risk of injury for a professional driver is real. Truck drivers who are injured while driving a big-rig may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Moreover, if a manufacturer of parts on the truck or another driver on the road was negligent in causing an accident, an injured professional driver may have a claim against the third-party who caused the accident.
A few of the most common causes of accidents involving a big rig include:
- Other drivers - It does not take a distracted driver in a passenger car to create risk for a truck driver. Many people who have never seen the inside of the cab of a commercial vehicle have no idea how complicated driving a tractor trailer can be. The size, weight and (lack of) maneuverability of an 18-wheeler are often foreign concepts to drivers of today's cars. Many drivers do not understand the difficulties that truck drivers have with braking distances at just about any speed, the lack of maneuverability when cars change lanes at a moment's notice, and visibility concerns as cars move into the blind spots of a rig.
- Equipment failure - Many truck accidents are associated with manufacturing or design errors involving any of the many systems on the rig. Refurbished parts, faulty original systems, such as a bad design in the braking system and improperly installed parts on a truck can be the source of tremendous harms should the system or part fail on the open road.
- Internal company policies - While third-party claims may not be available if company policies are the reason a truck accident occurred, truckers can be placed in harm's way due to unreasonable business decision. Improper training, an overloaded truck to serve the company's bottom line, excessive hours to increase company profits and many other demands of an employer may lead to an injury accident. Workers' compensation benefits are valuable when a driver is out of work for any period of time.
Whether you have a claim for workers' compensation benefits, or the possibility of a third-party personal injury claim, it is important to work with a lawyer who will put your interests first. The trucking industry and workers' comp providers are out to protect their own bottom lines. Moreover, a full-service injury lawyer can be a huge advantage as you may have multiple claims.